Excerpt from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

There is a passage in the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell that I’d like to share with you. It’s nothing significant, but within the context laid out in the world of the book, I found them much too rich and beautiful to keep to myself.

“…Strange walked away and became one of the many black figures on the piazza, all with black faces and no expressions, hurrying across the face of moon-coloured Venice. The moon itself was set among great architectural clouds so that there appeared to be another moon-lit city in the sky, whose grandeur rivalled Venice and whose great palaces and streets were crumbling and falling into ruins, as if some spirit in a whimsical mood had set it there to mock the other’s slow decline.”

One of the primary construct within the book’s world is the fairy road, which is closer to a whole world hidden within unseen corners of the reality rather than simple network of roads. Detailed descriptions and the depth of setting the author have devoted to the idea of fairy roads are rather pronounced throughout the course of the book, and every moment of it is memorable. Due to such extensive setting, even relatively simple passage as above, which might even come out mundane when read in other books take on certain profound qualities that forms a whole world on its own, like a sort of literary metasystem transition.

When a book opens a door within itself to be more real than is possible, the result is unreal. Even simple matter of nuances and styles open the door to a great number of interpretations, and such mechanic is not limited to literary works. Just as I instinctively note every description of the shadows and formations of birds within the world of the Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell, other mediums might lend significance to other little things, like the whispers of cicada or even the colors and musical tones within the artificial world.

When such understanding of artificial worlds have taken place, it is interesting to note just what kind of ‘mechanism’ an artificial life form can lend to the conventional understanding of reality.


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